Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust and The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have secured £20m to develop a Community Diagnostic Centre (CDC) at the Metrocentre in Gateshead. The CDC will offer 145,000 appointments per year and create 134 jobs when the centre opens.
The CDC will provide imaging, respiratory investigations and cardiac investigations with the centre designed to create capacity for these services that are seeing increased referrals. It is an important step in providing improved access to screening and diagnostic services outside of a hospital setting for the people of Gateshead and Newcastle.
Joanne Baxter, Chief Operating Officer at Gateshead Health, who is the Executive sponsor for the project said: “The investment in the Community Diagnostic Centre is part of a wider programme to improve access to healthcare within the community and adds to what is already provided at the QE Hospital, the RVI and the Freeman Hospital”.
“By creating the extra capacity in imaging and other diagnostics, we know that this will speed up diagnosis for patients therefore resulting in better patient care and improved outcomes.
“This is an excellent example of delivering healthcare differently and the centre will improve the patient experience as well as reduce waiting times for tests.”
Dame Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, Newcastle Hospitals said: “This is great news for our patients. It means that we will be able to offer diagnostic appointments like MRI scans, ultrasound tests and heart function tests much more quickly.
“Patients often tell us that coming into hospital is difficult for them, so we wanted to provide these services at a venue which is so easy to access by car and by public transport. Hopefully it will make life easier for many people.”
Ben Cox of Sovereign Centros, Senior Asset Manager for Metrocentre, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Gateshead and Newcastle NHS Foundation Trusts to deliver a new Community Diagnostics Centre at Metrocentre. Delivering alternative anchor uses is an integral part of the asset strategy for Metrocentre, diversifying the reasons to visit and creating additional footfall and jobs. The repurposing of substantial retail floor space will signify another key milestone in the evolution of Metrocentre.
“The new CDC will be a major health hub for Gateshead & Newcastle and represents a substantial investment from both Trusts & Metrocentre to deliver a flagship facility for the region. The project demonstrates the benefits of Metrocentre’s extensive free car parking, abundant new EV Chargers and strong connections to public transport for a variety of occupiers. This major new initiative will complement our exceptional retail and leisure offer.”
Leader of Gateshead Council, Councillor Martin Gannon, said: “The CDC will make essential healthcare services more accessible for our communities, not just by adding extra capacity but also through its convenient location at Metrocentre, which has excellent public transport links. The creation of 134 jobs is also very welcome.
Overall, the plans for the CDC represent a significant investment in the health and wellbeing of Gateshead residents and I’m looking forward to seeing those plans progress.” Plans for the community diagnostic centre are currently being finalised.